A customer journey begins long before they have reached your door, so pub and restaurant operators need to look at how tech can help attract and engage customers online.
Exclusive new research from Zonal and KAM Media shows that 1-in-3 customers now look up photos of a venue and its food before visiting. This rises to 1-in-2 among millennials and younger consumers, so at its most basic, your website imagery and other information must be kept up to date.
“Just because customers aren’t yet in venue doesn’t mean you can’t engage with them.”
The research shows that other top searches include, what’s on the menu (54%) and customer reviews (47%).
Operators looking to stand out however, need go further than this. An email marketing platform that integrates with your booking system is a good way to build customer engagement pre-visit. The technology can send automated notifications to customers, via email or text. The messages can be based on previous behaviour – “It’s your birthday, why not book a table and get a free bottle of fizz”, for example.
Throughout this early part of the journey, integrating your technology with other providers can prove invaluable for your business and add value for consumers.
Zonal partners with Airship for example, a customer engagement platform. Integrating with Airship means your customers can automatically receive relevant emails and offers, building and strengthening the relationship between them and you but without the vast investment in man hours it would take to do this the old-fashioned way.
33% of consumers will look up photos of the venue and its food menus before visiting
This is a crucial point in the customer journey, as interest must be now converted into bookings.
Research by Zonal and CGA shows that post-pandemic consumers are showing a preference to book in advance, with more than half (51%) saying they are now likely to reserve, so that they know there’s a table available for them, and 76% saying they have pre-booked to eat or drink out since summer 2020.
The booking stage of the guest journey is also the perfect opportunity for data capture.
76% of consumers have pre-booked to eat or drink out since summer 2020
For some independent operators, the idea of data capture is still daunting, but it is essential for business growth and technology can ensure this isn’t an arduous or complex task.
The right system will harness customer information seamlessly, safely and legally. Linking this to your EPoS can serve up data on customer preferences and behaviours, helping you streamline your business and offer more personalised experiences, promotions and packages in your pre- and post-visit customer marketing.
Once customers have pressed that booking button, you have the necessary details to begin to communicate with them directly. This is key opportunity to build relationships, minimise no-shows, and maximise upselling and pre-orders.
If this sounds like a long list of tasks, then let tech do the work for you.
Reservation systems can send automatic prompts to guests – emails or texts that provide information about the booking, send confirmation prompts and allow guests to cancel or amend bookings with a few simple clicks. This will go some way to helping minimise dreaded no-shows in your business.
51% of people like to book a table in a restaurant or pub now
This is also the opportunity to upsell. Use technology to encourage customers to pre-order items, pre-select meals and drinks, pay in advance or, for larger bookings, leave a deposit.
Using customer data you already hold, send them personalised, unmissable offers on their favourite food and drinks or, for large groups, pre-sell extras such as drinks on arrival, cocktail bundles, birthday cakes, or balloon packages.
By promoting pre-ordering you will also take the stress away from your team on the night, as the technology has already taken care of some the work. The system also holds all the pertinent information in one place, so no need to refer to scribbled notes or trawl through emails trying to work out who ordered and paid for what.
This leaves servers free to provide the best possible experience from the moment guests arrive in venue…
Continue connecting the customer journey…
Get in touch with Zonal today to discover how our connected technology solutions are helping hospitality businesses of all shapes and sizes to understand and enhance their customer journeys, make significant service improvements and exploit new revenue streams.Enquire now
How to use imagery effectively: 6 top tips for your hospitality website
How can you effectively use images and menus on your hospitality website? Zonal's Digital Marketing Manager, Joe Campbell, shares his six top tips.Read More
12 Questions to ask when evaluating reservation systems for your hospitality business
What to consider when you're evaluating a new online booking and table management solution - and the key questions your provider must answer.Read More
6 tech-led growth strategies for B&B
Zonal’s Group Product Director, Alison Vasey, shares her six top tips to help operators identify and exploit the benefits connected technology has to offer.Read More